“Jesse Edward Johnson's deft writing is so funny you could overlook its elegance. The King of Nothing Much is a nimble chronicle of a stay-at-home father whose inner life is a flow of witty rumination about the challenges of his kids, his wife, other families, and his own muffled ambitions. Not only is this novel a discovery for readers who appreciate writers such as Tom Perrotta, Zoe Heller, or Joshua Ferris, it is also a marvelous antidote for those among us suffering from Karl Ove Knausgård fatigue. It's a gem.”—Katharine Weber, author of Still Life with Monkey and Triangle
The King of Nothing Much is a story about parenthood in a time of transition.
Weldon Tines, 41, is a stay-at-home dad who has outlived his usefulness in the role. The twins—Danny and Reese—have just started kindergarten, his older daughter Presley wants nothing to do with him, and his wife Deb makes enough money for the family to live on. Newly rudderless, Weldon struggles to understand his purpose on this earth. Who is it that can tell him who he is?
When Weldon slides gleefully down an inflatable slide at a child’s birthday party, only to come crashing into the birthday boy, he thinks he’s just made a mistake that will lead only to hassle and headache. Instead, it kick-starts a quest for personal discovery that culminates in a dramatic flourishing of Weldon’s deep-seated heroism.
Witty and original, The King of Nothing Much speaks to what it means to be a father and a husband in the age of toxic masculinity.
Jesse Edward Johnson is a writer and artist based in the Pacific Northwest. His first novel, Yearbook, was published by Paul Dry Books in 2017. He has a Ph.D. in English from UCLA, where he taught literature for five years. He has taught at Hugo House in Seattle, and at San Quentin Prison. For more information about Jesse’s work and ongoing projects, please visit jesseedwardjohnson.com.